Kep Track

March 2018

26" hard tail, no luggage

I was back on the Kep Track again, same as January, but this ride turned out quite differently.
I did the same route as last time (ie Clackline to Midland train station), but this time 3 other riders came along. We were all quite good riders, but the bigger the group, the more stops you need, and the slower you travel . For instance, with 4 times as many tyres on the Track compared to riding solo, the chances of a flat tyre or mechanical issue increase 4 times. We had a flat and a minor mechanical issue, so that all adds to the travel time. It was also cooler this time – 27 degrees, instead of 32 degrees or more.
I also noticed the Track was a lot looser and more gravelly this time. When I rode in January, we had an unseasonal 100mm of rain a couple of weeks before, and I think that compacted the Track a bit. This time, it was bone dry, dusty and a bit harder.
Luan summed up riding the gentle slopes upwards – they are not hard, but they eat away at you. We estimated the difference between riding up the inclines was up to 10km/hr slower  than coming down them.
Our first stop was Wooroloo for a drink, outside the general store. But by the time we rode the 100m to the picnic area with toilets, Luan noticed he had a flat tyre, so we stopped to change it. While we were doing that, we chatted with two riders on electric mountain bikes who had parked at Chidlow, and ridden the 15km to Wooroloo, then were riding back. Their electric bikes were eating up the km so easily, and I expect we will see a lot more of these bikes on rail trails soon.
Our lunch spot was supposed to be Chidlow, but a classic car show had taken over the town, and the shop was heaving with customers. So we headed on towards Mount Helena, 6km away. We shopped at the IGA and had a picnic in the park, just 50m off the Track.
When we joined the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, we took the Northern leg through John Forrest National Park, not the Southern leg along with the Kep Track. The ride through the National Park was dry, but nice. It is all downhill, with sometimes sweeping views off the Darling Scarp. We walked through the old rail tunnel as we didn't have any torches to see properly.
The short ride from the Heritage Trail to Midland was uneventful, and we were back at my place at about 3pm. That was about 90 minutes longer than when I rode the same route last, but it definitely is more pleasant riding with others. Plus it gave me some good video with actual riders in it!

Jan 2018

26" hard tail, no luggage

I wanted to ride from Clackline to Midland Train station on the Kep Track and the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail. Starting at Clackline avoids the steep, rough up hill section from Northam, and also the sealed section. And by joining the trail at Clackline, you only ride on rail trail.
The weather forecast for Perth on Australia Day was 30 degrees, so I planned the ride. But the night before I saw the forecast for Northam (close to my start point) was 38 degrees, so it was going to be warmer than I expected. So an early start was called for, and I was actually on the Trail at 8am, heading back to Perth.
By 9am the temperature was 28 degrees, and 30 degrees by 10am. It stayed around that number for the rest of the ride. For this office based worker, it was a bit warm, but I kept my fluids up and didn't over do it.
Generally the Trail is a good gravel track with gentle slopes. As you would expect in January, the gravel was often loose in parts, but that just slowed you down in parts a little. A couple of kilometres from Wooroloo the Trail had obviously been used by horses a lot, and the surface was very diveted, and harder to ride. But it only lasted a kilo click or two.
I had a quick drink at the Wooroloo general store, which was open on the public holiday.
I said the slopes were gentle, but the long slope up into Chidlow had me needing a break half way up it. And I had another short break in Chidlow too. I only saw 3 riders on the Kep between Clackline and Mt Helena.
The switchback over the pipeline on Johnson St and Sawyers Rd in Mt Helena was well marked. Just after that, the Kep track joins the Railway Reserve Heritage Trail. The Kep follows the Southern section to Mundaring, but I continued straight on the Northern section. You soon enter John Forrest National Park, and there were a lot more walkers and riders about. But it was good fun barrelling off the Scarp, and soon I was at the end of the Railway Reserves HT in Bellvue. From there, it is 3.8km to Midland Train station, and a short train ride home - I was too hot and tired to cycle it!

Sept 2014

I got a lift to the Northam Tourist Bureau. I prefer to start there as it is prettier - it is on the Avon River, the tourist bureau is handy (get your maps) and there is a cafe with toilets. It is also close to the centre of town. The Poole St starting point is only 1.8 km away, but it is a bit bland with just a picnic table and carpark. I started at 9.45 am, and walked across the suspension bridge (the longest in Australia). I was at the official start point soon after, just as the drizzle started (you can see it in the first photos of the pipeline). However it wasn't too heavy. The climb up to the West Northam tanks wasn't too bad as I wasn't carrying a load. The first hill is the worst, but it is only 400m before it flattens out a bit, but still keeps climbing.

I was at Fox Rd just after 10.30 am, which is over all the initial hill - it will be now more undulating or more gentle. It is a nice trail next to the pipeline. The ride on the Eadine Road was a bit boring, as it is a sealed but quiet country road. I found a cool 120 year old bridge along the route that is worth a look (see my route sheet notes for the exact location).

I got to Clackline about 11.30am. There was a lot to see - the school monument, Platypus Pool, the rail bridge, and the old station. Being the end of water, the pool was flowing nicely. I also had a quick walk around the old loco dam and the foundations of the original Goldfields Pipeline before getting on the trail again.

After Clackline, it all changes - the trail becomes old rail trail, so is much flatter and more solid base. The track pass through towns more frequently, meaning toilets, drinks, snacks, picnic tables and phone coverage!

I had my first decent break at the Bakers Hill pie shop at noon- it is less than 100m off the Track. I stopped only for 10 minutes to eat. My next stop was Wooralloo for an iced coffee at the little general store at 1.15 pm - it is a pretty little shop and right on the trail again. I crossed Old Northam road at 1.45 pm.
The next section has some big cuttings through small hills as well as some other rail related pits that are all quite old.
My next stop was Chidlow at 2.15 pm to eat a cake I had purchased at Bakers Hill. I used the toilets and took a few photos. The place was actually quite busy as a Cycle Sportive event was winding up.

I was at the junction with the Railway Heritage Trail at 2.45 pm. I could carry straight on and get to Midland via John Forrest National Park, but I followed the trail towards Mundaring.

The trail down to join the Railway Heritage trail was again pretty easy. It was a damp public holiday, so I only saw one cyclist on the trail (except on the close-to-Perth Railway Heritage Trail loop - see my other maps for details). I saw a horse rider, 2 motorcyclists on the Track (but plenty of damage they have caused especially between Chidlow and Clackline), and plenty of dog walkers.

I got to the turn off to Mundaring Weir just after 3.15pm. I was riding home so headed ontowards the Mundaring Sculpture Park, then down the Railway Heritage trail to Midland, which was a pleasant down hill run. I then rode on to Bayswater via back roads or cycle ways next to the train line. I got home at 5 pm exactly. 98 km in total, over 7hrs 15 mins. Sore but happy.

Sept 2007

Lift to Northam with 4 riders, all on solo bikes with back up vehicle, so traveling light. Left Bayswater at 7.30am, in Northam Tourist Bureau at 9am. Left at 9.15am. First 8km are uphill on an average track, but then more undulating. After Clackline it was old rail trail so a lot easier. Lunch stop at Wooroloo at 12.15pm after 42km.

4 of us did the ride, and we had a back up vehicle that dropped us to Northam and met us at spots on the way. We left Bayswater at 7.30am as planned and were on the Northam tourist centre at 9.15 am. The first 8 km out of Northam are uphill, on a rougher, looser track. That was after a slow start too (the uphill section, 2 flat tyres and a bit of stuffing about). Then there is 6.5 km on a quiet back road before the we got on the main line.
From then on the ride was very similar to the Railway Heritage trail - a good wide track, reasonable solid without too much loose crap, and it avoids major ups & downs. That meant a reasonably fast pace - One of the guys rode a lot faster that the rest of us, so we were all a little bit in the red zone trying to keep up, but as no-one stopped which I see as a good thing. Our lunch stop at Wooroloo at 12.15pm after 42km. We did the 70km of Kep from Northam, then did another 30km down the Railway Heritage Trail to Bellevue and on to Bayswater in about 7.5 hours total. We did about 80km of dirt and 20km of road back to Bayswater. Home at 4.45pm, 99km in 6.5hr ride time over 7.5hr total. Our average riding time was 16km/hr, but average of around 13km/hr overall. It was perfect weather, good company and great fun.

I have ridden the Kep track in it's entirety on two other occasions (got there once via the train and another via a lift with a back up). However I did not record the details.

Henry's Bike Shop, Balcatta

Ride proudly sponsored by Henry's Bike Shop, 949 Wanneroo Rd, Wanneroo

Kep Track

Jan 2018

26" hard tail, no luggage

Kep and Railway Reserves HT-
Clackline To Midland Train Station
Started: 26 Jan 2018 at 8:02:16 am
Ride Time: 3:20:29
Stopped Time: 54:50
Distance: 65.04 km
Average Speed: 19.46 km/h
Fastest Speed: 34.39 km/h
Ascent: 283 metres
Descent: 489 metres

Sept 2014

29"er Soft tail, no luggage

Distance: 67.1 km
Elevation: + 814 / - 667 m
Max Grade 9.7 %, Avg. Grade -0.1 %
Total Duration: 05:31:56
Moving Time: 03:39:58
Stopped Time: 01:51:58
Avg. Speed: 18.3 kph

April 2014

Soft tail, no luggage

Mundaring To Weir Hotel
12 Apr 2014 10:20:08 am
Ride Time: 22:16, stopped time: 5:12
Distance: 7.37 km
Average Speed: 19.86 km/h
Fastest Speed: 33.34 km/h
Ascent: 22 metres
Descent: 142 metres

Sept 2007

70km of Kep from Northam, then did another 30 km down the Railway Heritage Trail to Bellevue and on to Bayswater in about 7.5 hours total. About 80km of dirt and 20km of road back to Bayswater. Home at 4.45pm, 99km in 6.5hr ride time over 7.5hr total. Average riding time was 16km/hr, but average of around 13km/hr overall.

Henry's Bike Shop, Balcatta

Ride proudly sponsored by Henry's Bike Shop, 949 Wanneroo Rd, Wanneroo

Profiles and Maps

Northam to Mundaring

Mundaring to the Weir

Clackline to Midland Train Station

Getting back: Mundaring to Midland

Getting Back: Mt Helena to Bellvue via John Forrest National Park

Getting Back: Bellvue to Midland

Henry's Bike Shop, Balcatta

Ride proudly sponsored by Henry's Bike Shop, 949 Wanneroo Rd, Wanneroo

Henry's Bike Shop, Balcatta

Ride proudly sponsored by Henry's Bike Shop, 949 Wanneroo Rd, Wanneroo